(WKBN) — A ring lost for 73 years was miraculously found in Columbiana County – and the finder just knew it would be special for the owner to have it back.

He persevered to return it when others might have given up.

“Takes you back to childhood, doesn’t it?” said Margery Cooksey.

She glowed about the 1948 Wilson High school ring that belonged to her husband of 65 years. They started dating right around graduation.

“I really never saw the ring before, because when we were married he didn’t have it. He had already lost it,” Cooksey said.

Michael Shealy found the ring in Rogers during a family trip. It was uncovered by his metal detector. The ring was broken but it galvanized his desire to find the owner.

“Finding the backstory to me was really more important,” Shealy said.

Shealy was adopted and had found his birth mother after many years. He had a feeling this ring would be important.

He took the ring home to South Carolina and started investigating.

He had the school and the year. The initials AHC inside the ring sealed the deal: Art Cooksey. He died in 2016, so Shealy called the family.

“I was sure it was a scam. I had never heard of anything like this. I didn’t know he had a high school ring,” Cooksey said.

“So we approached it with the attitude that he meant well, but we had to be cautious,” said Art’s son Greg Cooksey.

Shealy didn’t give up and sent the Cookseys pictures of the ring. They warmed up to the story and to Shealy and he finally persuaded the Cookseys he — and the ring — were legit.

They figured it was Art’s and he had just lost it when the property was a church camp the entire family had gone to frequently.

There was just one step left: returning the ring.

“I felt it was really important. My wife thought I was nuts to drive it back up,” Shealy said.

Shealy met the Cookseys in Youngstown five weeks after he had found it. Art’s son Greg even came in from Wyoming to see the ring returned.

“We are just overwhelmed that the odds of this ring being found are so astronomical,” Greg Cooksey said.

“It is an interesting story because whoever thinks you would find something 73 years later and that we’d still be around,” Margery Cooksey said.

Margery is 91 years old and is holding onto the ring for now, but it will stay in the family and be passed down someday.